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[Need Your Opinion] - my research project about consumers and fresh coffee beans
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poopooegg
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 11
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014, 7:18pm
Subject: [Need Your Opinion] - my research project about consumers and fresh coffee beans
 

Hi everyone,

My name is Rick and I am a project manager at an online media company based in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  Recently I've started a new project that I'm actively managing during my spare time and I would like to share with you on some of the details. I encourage everyone on the Eastern Canada forum to provide as much insightful feedbacks as possible whether it comes from personal or professional background. And most importantly if you will want to be part of this amazing experience.


Premises:
We have many coffee roasters in the United States and Canada, some are close by and some are far away. While with the close by ones, you can either walk to or drive by to pick up a bag of beans at your convenience. But what about the far away ones? Well, many roasters these days offer shipping for their freshly roasted beans. But often the shipping cost greatly exceeds what a typical consumer would spend on a 12 oz bag of coffee beans. Moreover, when company offer free shipping over $35 or whatever, then you start to stock on beans and they could potential go stale. (let's not start the debate on how to keep your beans fresh). Another type is subscription plans but you don't get to choose the beans, you drink what they tell you to drink. Much like how Apple brainwash their fan boys/girls. (I'm one myself actually :))

Existing Solution:
Group buy. This is what we typically see when a group of coffee aficionados (coffee geeks, if you prefer) team up on a roaster and buy a few pounds worth of coffee at a time to save on shipping cost. This is a very tedious and manual labour, could be error prone when it comes to placing order and getting all the ducks in line. Albeit there are many successful group buying threads in coffee geek but they don't last long.

Proposed Solution:
My team and I will embark on a journey to build an online platform, a website, that will connect with roasters all over North America and provide the best roasted coffee bean choices for people like coffee geeks to order from. The idea is simple, each roaster will introduce a list of beans that are available for ordering. Each available bean will have a minimum order quantity.  Once the minimum is reach, purchase order will be dispatched directly to the coffee roaster. Beans get roasted and then shipped to a centralized warehouse and then the beans gets repackaged and redistributed to all users that ordered.

Advantages:
  • For end users like us is low shipping cost, in some case, the shipping cost can be worked into the order. You pay what you see on their website.
  • We bring more choices to you
  • More good coffee = more happy people

My apologies as this thread may be lengthy, but I would appreciate you putting in the time to read over my research project.

Thanks you very much.

- Rick
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greggb
Senior Member
greggb
Joined: 7 Jan 2007
Posts: 156
Location: Mississauga, ON, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

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Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 3:42pm
Subject: Re: my research project about consumers and fresh coffee beans
 

Rick,
     While I appreciate your innovative solution to the coffee buying problem, I see a number of issues with your scheme:

1) Since time is of the essence, the double shipping and time to re-pack would reduce the freshness of the coffee.

2) The cost of the web site, double shipping and the labour to re-distribute the coffee would eat into, if not negate any potential savings.

3) As a user, I'm not sure how long I would be willing to wait for a threshold to be reached. It would make planning coffee purchases difficult.

Gregg.
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poopooegg
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 11
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014, 8:44pm
Subject: Re: my research project about consumers and fresh coffee beans
 

Thanks Gregg for your reply and I appreciate the input. To be honest with you, this research idea isn't an easy one, the challenge lies at how we solve the problems you listed and you really hit it home for my team. I wil try to share a bit more and incorporate some of your concerns as well.

Our main challenges are these:
  1. How do we gather interests and keep these people interested aka return customers.  People like us (home baristas) like to try different beans on regular basis and having the ability to choose, to me, is more valuable than being locked into a subscription service where the service dictates what you drink. Some people like this and some don't. Perhaps a hybrid model can be developed.

  2. Profit margin. In the coffee business, roasters and cafes make the most profit compare to any other parties. This service is aiming to have enough margin to sustain the day to day operation of a very small team of individuals.  The profit model behind this is still a work in progress. But this challenge is only second to the idea: how do we get more coffee varieties to us Ontarians without spending too much?

  3. Logistics, like you mentioned, how long should a consumer wait for their orders? The model we have envisioned is to have weekly orders placed with the roasters.  You tell us what you want this week, you get the order next week. The time it takes the freshly roasted beans to actually arrive at your door steps should be no more than 3 to 4 business days. The cycle repeats, if you are on the bandwagon you'll have fresh coffee in your hands on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This is a projected model and more details will be worked out once more roasters are approached.

Hopefully this can give a better perspective on what we are trying to achieve.

Thanks,
Rick

P.S. Please spread the word on this thread to your coffee friends and buddies. More inputs from more people will only aid the project to be more successful.

greggb Said:

Rick,
     While I appreciate your innovative solution to the coffee buying problem, I see a number of issues with your scheme:

1) Since time is of the essence, the double shipping and time to re-pack would reduce the freshness of the coffee.

2) The cost of the web site, double shipping and the labour to re-distribute the coffee would eat into, if not negate any potential savings.

3) As a user, I'm not sure how long I would be willing to wait for a threshold to be reached. It would make planning coffee purchases difficult.

Gregg.

Posted January 9, 2014 link

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